Last night, I went to see the latest cinematic offering from the Marvel Universe, Black Panther. Chances are, even if you're not the type of person to read comic books or don a cape and mask at a comic convention, you've heard of this Marvel character from...I don't know...everything around you. Since the movie came out Thursday, I have been actively avoiding reading certain Instagram or Facebook posts. Now that I've seen the movie, I can very honestly say that it's well worth the money to go see it.
From the excellent actors- who originated from several countries, including those from Africa- to the storyline and skillful direction, to the costumes inspired by actual garb from various African groups, this film was extremely well-done. The characters were three-dimensional, the heroes still had flaws, and certain historical elements of African colonization and oppression were included in the plot. Also, the women in the film were independent characters who were thinkers and fighters, not just accessories to a male-driven plot.
It's no wonder that this film has dominated the box office since its release, showing out with a $235 million dollar earning. This movie, directed by 31-year-old Ryan Coogler (of Fruitvale Station and Creed fame), has out-earned other February superhero releases in the US and is already taking foreign markets by storm. Movie rags are also noting that Black Panther is the biggest opening by an African-American director. And all the praise and money are well-earned for this film.
This film explores the fictional country of Wakanda, an isolated land untouched by ravages of European colonization. Benefiting from this isolation and a healthy supply of Vibranium, the Wakandan people have become the most technologically-advanced group of people in the world. Their leader, T'Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman), has been recently crowned King after the death of his father, but their idyllic life in Wakanda is soon disturbed by the arrival of Erik Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan) who has very different ideas about Wakanda's role on the world stage. Viewers will appreciate Black Panther's nuanced characters who weather complicated relationship dynamics and who must decide what it truly means to do the right thing. Even the movie's villain, Killmonger, despite handling things in a completely vicious and murderous way, has some defensible points about the Wakandan relationship to other Africans as well as their relationship to the African diaspora who face oppression and discrimination across the globe.
I highly recommend this movie, whether you are a Marvel fan or just a person who enjoys action films. The movie will draw you in and you will likely leave the theater with "Wakanda forever!" echoing in your head.